Friday, September 25, 2015

KPK Radio (Seven Seas Cruising Association)

Seven Seas Cruising Association Logo
The Seven Seas Cruising Association was founded in 1952 by six couples on six boats: Shellback, Tropic Bird, Black Dolphin, Evening Star, Norwind and Stardust. Harry S. Truman was the President of the United States. LORAN-A was the long range electronic navigation system - it utilized the same frequencies as the amateur radio (HAM) 160  meter band. There were only paper charts. No Internet. No GPS. These six couples had a dream and a joke. The dream - to cruise the world. The joke - to not be a "stuffy" yacht club. A principle output of the association was the "Commodore's Bulletin." This mimeographed (I'm guessing) monthly document bound the association together. It's most important feature was "Letters from Cruisers." These letters contained valuable information about the voyages and ports of call of the members. Frequently they contained hand drawn charts and contact information for local services. For the first few decades the bulletins were the best (and perhaps for some places) the only source of local knowledge. They also established "cruising stations," locals who would greet and help visiting cruisers.

The organization has grown both in size and scope over the years. The most recent addition to their services is radio station KPK in Florida. This is a maritime (as opposed to HAM) radio station that operates each morning from 1100 to 1130 UTC on 8.104 MHz. The primary purpose of this station is to assist cruisers in the Caribbean with a US based gateway for assistance, telephone links, and cruising information. Glen Tuttle is the net controller.

In this day of social media and online forums do we need another radio station? My answer is HECK YES. If you aspire to voyaging I suggest this simple test. Turn off your Internet connection. Turn off you cell phone. Now figure out how you are going to get weather information, talk to your friends, let people know where you are, etc.

Fair winds and following seas :)

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